My most recent project has been to create wedding photo albums for myself and for the parents. I have read nearly EVERY forum on here touching on this issue, and based on everyone's extremely helpful information and pictures, I decided to order parents books from MyPublisher and my own wedding album from Blurb.
I will publish pictures of the books once they arrive, but I wanted to share things that I noticed or found that might help others out!
I chose mypublisher for parents and grandparents books because they seem to have 2 for 1 coupons floating around EVERYWHERE for duplicate books, so this seemed like the most cost-efficient option. I made 8 1/2" x 11" books with the linen cover.
- limited layouts. They don't have nearly as many as blurb, and you can't change the size of the photos. You're pretty much stuck with what they have
- limited fonts. I wanted to incorporate fonts used in our wedding for the writing in the book. This wasn't possible...
EDIT: apparently MyPublisher has added option to use various fonts now- I haven't looked at this/used this yet, but I received an email about it!
- really quick and easy to make. The good thing about having limited options was that I finished this book pretty quickly! I think this would be great for a guestbook, or something really simple...
- Price: $42 for two 20-page books (after 2 for 1 coupon and including shipping - TWO books were $29.50 and shipping was about $12!)
After working with MyPublisher first, I knew I wanted to find a program that gave me much more freedom to do what I wanted. I downloaded Picaboo and Blurb and gave each one a 10 minute test run. I ended up selecting Blurb and made an 11"x 13" album with premium paper and the wrap cover (cover photos printed directly on the hard cover - no dust jacket).
- unlimited layouts. They had many more options AND you can design your own pages too - the arrangement and sizes of the photos and text boxes, etc. If you come up with a layout you really like, you can save it for future use. I LOVED this.
- easy page editing. To edit each page, you get to see the layout on a grid with an x and y axis. This GUARANTEES that you can make sure your pictures are balanced/lined up after you design a page or move pictures around.
EDIT: blurb has now added the ability of being able to see the picture while editing (before you could only see a gray square - now they offer a shadow of your photo so you can see how re-sizing would look/affect your photo).... this would have really helped me a lot in creating my book!!
- can use any font you have in Word! I really loved this option because I was able to use fonts that I used in my wedding stationery for headings in the book! Even better, you don't even have to download anything into the program... it's just there under your font options!!! Sooo nice!
- Con - pictures shifted easily: while I was working on my book, I had to be really careful about accidentally clicking on pictures I'd already adjusted because there was a chance they'd shift and get unaligned and I would have to realign. The program has a "lock" function that supposedly prevents anything on a page from moving if you enable it; however, every time I tried to use it, Blurb would crash. So after I was done with the whole book, I just went through each page one final time and double-checked before submitting to be printed.
- awesome saving function: blurb automatically saves everything you do - you never have to remember to save on your own - it does it automatically. Even though it crashed once, and my computer power died once in the middle of working on it, everything was fine once I reopened the program!
- price - great! $78 for the book with the wrap cover (photos printed on hardcover of book), premium paper, and 68 pages (double-sided so actually 34 sheets). Shipping ground is only $6 and overnight is $11!! I didn't find any coupons for blurb, though. They seem to be harder to come by than other photobook sites.
EDIT: Blurb has changed to flat rate shipping now (based on number of books you order!)
- quality: i haven't seen my own book yet, but this guy's review gave me a great idea of what to expect: http://mikedelgaudio.com/wordpress/2007/02/16/quality-review-of-a-blurb-photobook/ (NOTE: his review is 2 years old and Blurb has made improvements since)!
I have always heard mixed reviews about what maker has better quality, and I have read a lot about some people being disappointed with Blurb's quality, but this is a risk I was willing to take in order to design my book to look just how I wanted it to look!!!
UPDATE: MY BLURB BOOK!!!
My Blurb book finally arrived!!!
This is one of the 90+ page wedding albums I made! The cover has a matte finish and is pretty nice! I ordered the 11"x13" landscape-style album:
I also ordered two books: one with the premium paper and one with the regular paper. Here is the thickness of the book with the premium paper:
Here is the book opened up:
I have read reviews about the blurb books creasing easily, and I can already see that this is going to be a problem with mine - especially with a black cover! I like having the photos printed on the cover itself; however, think I will try to order a book jacket as well:
INSIDE THE BOOK: The premium pages are definitely the way to go.
I have read that the pictures are clearer with the regular paper; however, I definitely did not notice a difference in the quality of the photos.
Because this isn't "album" paper, the pages definitely aren't as thick as I would have liked, but the regular paper is definitely TOO THIN. After turning the pages a few times, I noticed that little crease marks formed easily. I definitely recommend the premium paper!!!!
Here is an example of a page bleed- turned out well!
I noticed that because the book is so thick and the binding is still new and tight, my photos tended to "crash" into each other at the seams.
I'd recommend leaving more room than you think you need between photos close to the middle of the book. I'm hoping that over time, they will flatten out to look more like this!
another full page bleed (chose two full page bleed layouts next to each other and put the same picture on both pages and then just repositioned them until they lined up!)
Here is an up-close shot of a page in the book. I'm really happy with the quality of the pictures- especially pictures this large:
BINDING: I know that because the pages are sewn together, there was no way around seeing the binding. I'm just glad it's against the back cover!
And here is the back cover!
Overall, I am very happy with my Blurb book. The only thing I was really disappointed about was the book cover's tendency to show creasing so easily. I wrote to Blurb's customer help center about the ability to purchas a book jacket after the fact and so far, they've been really accomodating. I do know it's partly my fault due to the black & white photo choice; I don't think that a color photo on the cover would have made the crease as noticeable.
Other than that, it was well worth the price and I'm glad to have an album that has A TON of pictures in it that follow our entire day!!!